The first pages
By the same Author
CRISTO IN BROOKLYN
A COMPLICATED EXISTENCE
THE DOG LOOKING FOR ITSELF
My thoughts, my passions, my life.
I owe my life to my father, a life worth living to my teacher.
ALEXANDER THE GREAT
Words and images in freedom
Long live '68
In 1968 I was twenty-three years old and I was studying at the Polytechnic University of Turin, a very demanding university that did not leave much space for free time, but we university students, those few hours of freedom, enjoyed them all and so among the engineering students, there were no subjects that, starting from the faculty agitation, they reached the world of politics, contrary to what happened to the students of Law or Political Sciences, who had too much time.
Protesters were born, prodromal elements of a political ideology that resulted in mass contestation, with which all the social and state values that had hitherto marked the path of our democracies were questioned.
All social stereotypes fell one by one, under the accusation of elitism and prevarication. First of all, the world of education was contested, pointing to it as obsolete and no longer suited to the new liberal imperative that was spreading.
The movement, initially the exclusive prerogative of intellectuals, expanded more and more until it became global and every social institution, every civic value was questioned. The world of work was, among all, the greatest stage of the irridentist and revolutionary theater. He said he wanted to give a new dignity to workers, considered victims of a monopoly and plutocratic regime, within which their most elementary rights were suffocated. Marx and Engels became the inspiring Muses of an ideological tsunami, which, modulated on the aphorisms of Mao Tze-tung's Little Red Book, brought the protest so far to the left that for the first time, after the Second World War, it was thought that it would inevitably be arrived at a worldwide accession to Communism.
The left, with its slogans, reigned. The red unions were proselytizing as never before. Everyone had become communists or at least winked to the left and from this leftist point of view every piece of society was refuted. The holders of university professorships, the captains of industry, the high graduates of the military forces, the Prelates, the Heads of the hospitals, all those who commanded were called barons. Baronism became the subject of rallies, impromptu meetings and everyone hoped that the world could finally change. Even women accused men of baronism and demanded equality of rights and behavior. Wives and girlfriends began to question the role they had played for centuries. They no longer wanted to be subjected to a rigorous male discipline, nor to take care, as mothers and wives, of family management, they wanted to enter the control room and in a short time, a flood of housewives, married and unmarried, turned into a new working force. The woman had to have the same rights as man, even in the sexual sphere. Man, in the universal meaning of the term, has always been able to have more women and spread his virility to the right and left and the woman also wanted this. From that moment on, an angry host of repressed women began making love with such aplomb that, at first, the men themselves, instead of rejoicing, as they did later, were disoriented.
1968 seemed to have to bring the world towards a new morning and the general protest in 1968 had to represent the Northern Lights, dramatic and dense with dark colors. Then, having overcome the paroxysm of initiation, the new trade unionists replaced the old ones, the new teachers took turns with the old professors, the young university students, politically committed, became deputies in Parliament. The workers had some small revenge on the masters, the students on the Professors, the women finally had many lovers and each subordinate stole some land from their commander, but these conquests were little, because, in fact, nothing changed. The master remained so, the Commander was even promoted to rank, the old professors became luminaries and the women single mothers, thus gaining equal rights with men in society, at least on the sexual level.
1968 was a joke, one of the biggest that society has ever suffered and if in Woodstock people shouted "we want peace, not war", addressing Nixon with every epithet, from warmonger to murderer for sending American soldiers to die in Vietnam, today we fight in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Korea, Liberia and it is not known how many other parts of the world.
Life has now become increasingly inaccessible to the proletariat, which in the meantime has been downgraded to the underclass, unemployment is at an all-time high, multinationals are increasingly powerful and rich, while in some parts of the world there are people dying of thirst. Even water, for some people, has become an unattainable luxury.
If a philosopher is a blind man, in a dark room, looking for a black cat that is not there, a theologian is the man who can find that cat.
Melancholia - Engraving by Albrecht Durer - 1514
Regret. Used and worn term that has lost its original meaning. We speak of regret when we appeal to actions in our life that have not been followed up, when our understanding has not been realized.
The regret, however, is not only this, it is above all the certainty of a lost opportunity, of a forbidden aspiration, it is mainly the knowledge of not having been able to satisfy our will, only for our sake, not attributable to other eventualities and therefore unfortunately it is the ascertainment of our incapacity, in not reaching set goals. It is the certainty of not having fully fulfilled the implementation of construction drawings, a sort of melancholy, due to the awareness of pragmatic ineptitude towards goals representative of our existential condition.
Regret means touching one's own failure, for not being able to express oneself effectively and having lost the opportunity to realize a desire that was considered important to express our egotism.
Spinal and uncontrollable enslavement to our ego, as a severe judge of our actions, induces us to act and does not leave room for individual interpretations, motivates us towards precise and well-defined goals, not allowing chance to perform acts, aimed at carrying out of our personal fulfillment.
Regret consumes, poisons, makes ugly what could be beautiful.
The memory of a love ended in nothingness can be beautiful and gratifying, but if regret creeps in, feelings of guilt immediately arise and one passes from one condition of bliss to another of exegesis and in the examination of the acts of the cause one finds oneself hopelessly in a state of guilt. Yes, because being investigated is synonymous with guilt, but we don't want to be investigated, we only ask to be ourselves. We must acknowledge that that girl we failed to have, it is only because we were distracted and if a friend expected something from us and did not get it, it is because we were not ready and attentive to understand her needs.
We cannot be martyred, nor become rigid critics of our actions, nor must we feel guilty for not doing that thing or that. If we behaved in a certain way, which today we consider negative, it is only because the moment required precise attitudes and did not allow room for other interpretations.
Regret is a sensation that is addressed to acts undertaken, not defined by our condescension, but determined by circumstances independent of the individual will, something indefinable that cannot be ascribed to our attitudes, but rather the result of a series of concomitances dictated by the evolution of events.
You cannot enter the same river twice.
Cinematism of life
The only mystery that deeply fascinates me, the answer to all the whys, is the secret kinematics of life, the true key to everything, but it cannot be sought in things, nor can its presence be discerned in any land of the earth, although all creation speaks of life.
I have always understood only the facts that I have been able to explain with scientific rigor and only in them my intellect has won, or rather the spurious part of it has won, because it was the triumph of rationalism.
It is assumed, however, that in this perspective, science often triumphs over the movements of the soul, while I would like to understand beyond the theatrical curtain, above reality itself, where the location of facts is free from physical ties.
I would like to enter, at least for a moment, into the structure of events, so as to have a knowledge of them based on idealistic elements, regardless of anecdotes and scientific reconstructions.
I am looking for this will that animates everything and that is the creator of everything, whose semeiotics is life itself which, once received the creative inspiration that commands and shapes it, becomes easy to interpret.
A deductive research process tending to explain the problem, however, it would be trivial just to conceive it.
It is unthinkable that a higher coordinating entity can be abstracted from finite and circumscribed clues.
The solution, if there is one, must necessarily lie outside the tactile and defined sensations, or rather it must exist above them, maintaining at most a contact of absolute independence.
What I am always looking for escapes me, because I feed my thirst for knowledge with logic and logic is not thirst-quenching enough for my heat, because it never extinguishes the fire of ignorance. Outside the traditional patterns of research and study, I look everywhere for the answers to my questions, trying to understand them in a universal language, whose vocabulary is made up of sensations and assumptions that live in us as the result of dreams or imaginations, because dream and reality they end up merging in our mind, creating moods and passions, pushing us to actions that consume the time of our existence.
Therefore I try to give importance to the dream as to reality and from both, I try to draw the juice of existence.
After all, Dostoevsky says that the truth is unique and always the same, whether it is lived in reality or received in the dream and that when you have known it, that is!
One should travel the world, supported only by the desire to approach the Light, so as to be a little enlightened by it.
Rogier Van Der Weyden - 1433
The painting by Rogier Van der Weyden, exhibited at the El Prado museum is one of the greatest masterpieces of Flemish Renaissance art, perfect in technique and in the description of the event, full of mysticism and hieraticity. Probably the most beautiful of all the Depositions and as such it does not require comments and much less does it need cryptic interpretations, such as those who have wished to glimpse some musical bars similar to those of the Stabat Mater Dolorosa by the Flemish composer and music theorist Guillaume Dufay.
Alex Gross. 2002
In his painting, a clear reinterpretation of the Deposition by Van der Weyden, the American painter Alex Gross, while maintaining the verticality of the reference painting and the same setting of the volumes, transported the action to the nineteenth century (as can be seen from the costumes of the figures ), introducing elements of various types, which combine together to give drama and universality to the event.
The onlookers, with the exception of John the Baptist who supports the Virgin and of the Magdalene, the last figure on the right, are oriental. In the background, in the sky, a plane with a crashing engine on fire is a sign of death and doom.
Men and even Jesus Christ have been replaced by women. The only exception: John the Baptist. And finally, the pious crying woman, behind John, has been replaced by a vase of iris, thus creating a perfect balance of volumes, in three blocks of three characters each: the left block with the Virgin, the central block with Jesus Christ and the block on the right with the Magdalene holding a movie camera.
Iconographically, the iris signifies the depth of the highest and most noble sentiments, such as friendship, trust, truth, wisdom, faith, hope, depending on the color. The blue-blue iris, also called delicate iris, symbolizes faith and hope. Furthermore, the number three recurs many times in the flower, because there are three internal erect tepals, three external falling tepals, three are the stamens, three branches of the stem, three lodges in which the fruit is divided, but three is also the number which in the Christian tradition is linked to the image of the Holy Trinity, so Christian iconography has taken this flower as a symbol of faith, courage and wisdom.
There are numerous elements of blasphemy in this painting. Jesus became a completely undressed woman. In the block on the right, a woman with a cold and cynical look replaces the male figure with a sad and disoriented face placed behind Giuseppe d'Arimatea, and next to it, the Magdalene is replaced by an elegant lady who is distracted from the context to look elsewhere while holding a camera almost, with raw documentary professionalism, should stigmatize the scene. However, everything is transcended by the joyfulness of the Japanese garden where the peach trees let the petals of their flowers fall in the wind, and is purged by the mask of pain of the Virgin, reproduced as in the original work, which fainted for the sufferings of the Son immerses the composition in an empathic atmosphere of tragedy.
When forty winters besiege your brow
And dig your deep trenches in the field of beauty,
The seated fair of your youth, so admired now,
It will be dressed in tatters, kept in little value;
To those who ask where all your beauty is,
Where, all the treasure of your strong days,
The answer that is at the bottom of your sunken eyes,
It would be heartbreaking shame and vain praise.
How much more praise would the use of your beauty deserve
If I could answer: this beautiful son of mine
Both my account balance, you redeem the old debt;
By showing that his beauty is his legacy.
It would be a renewal when you are already old,
Seeing your blood warm when you feel it cold.
Love can do much more than neither you nor I can.
My mother would often repeat to me: beware of stupid people, because, even without wanting to, they can get you in trouble, just because they are stupid!
When he said this to me, I smiled. I thought that elderly people are afflicted by an organogenetic pessimism, and therefore what they say is marked by a negative consideration of life, which does not depend on their conception of life itself, but rather by a progressive cerebral necrosis that inevitably leads to more pessimism. unbridled.
My mother was right, and without resorting to organic decay.
If one is born stupid, it is a fact. Defined! Its condition is independent of wear, of whatever nature, they may be. There's nothing to do. He was born stupid. Some are born blond, some brown, some tall, some short. The stupid was born stupid. It's a fact!
The fool is dangerous! Very dangerous! In his stupidity he cannot discern between what may represent a real, effective danger and what could be a joke.
He, the stupid one, sees everything in terms of a logic elaborated by him, which takes no account of the demands of his neighbor and decrees, judges, sanctions, as a perfect demiurge, what pertains to the right and what is instead deplorable.
Unfortunately he is stupid and in his natural condition, he is absolutely unable to discern between the convenient and the inconvenient and in such a situation, anyone who finds himself the subject of some consideration of his will almost certainly be damaged.
And all this why? Because it's stupid!
But in this mare magnum of stupidity, in which everything seems to be marked by carelessness, carelessness, what is our role?
What must we do to free ourselves from the many false friends e fake gurus, who claim to be conditioning elements of our life and above all saprophytes of our spirituality?
How should we behave once these beings have manifested themselves as such?
My friend Righetto from Trastevere would say we have to fuck them off!
We do not want to be so prosaic, but of course we must move away from these strange figures, who in compliance with a declared friendship, make life impossible and full of negativity.
Having said that, then where does a consumed spaghetti come from, at three or perhaps four in the morning, in Rome, on a wall on the edge of Corso Francia?
It comes from a deep friendship that transcends social conveniences and rises to an assumption of more absolute complicity, which comes from mutual respect and immolates itself in search of the pleasure of the little things in life, so as to represent a simple divertissement and nothing more.
Beautiful things are always the simplest, the most natural.
And it seemed very natural for me and my friend Gianfranco to enjoy a plate of spaghetti late at night, sitting on a low wall in the early hours of the morning and mind you, you didn't eat on plastic plates and improvised cutlery. No! We ate our strange snack on porcelain plates, with 800 silver forks from the family service and drank champagne on crystal goblets, also of the family, while the cars sped past us.
Were we stupid? No, we were friends, in reality and unreality, in the certain and the improbable, and in the absurdity.
We were true friends and above all lovers of life.
On a sad day, many years after the spaghetti feast in Corso Francia, Gianfranco told me he was seriously ill: A liver cancer. Yes cancer, really cancer! One is afraid to pronounce this word, but not mentioning it does not remove its fatal presence and my friend, that day, was not afraid to say it.
He was afflicted with a tumor, now at an advanced stage, but this did not change our relationships, always marked by the joy of life and the frenetic and light-hearted taste of life.
That was the only time that his illness was spoken of. Even later, when his health deteriorated, he always avoided mentioning his unfortunate condition. It was his daughter, some time later, who told me he was gone.
It is said that one dies twice. The first, when you stop breathing and the second, when nobody says our name anymore. From that moment on, one has been swallowed up by eternity.
The disappearance of a loved one therefore represents not only the end of a sentimental partnership, but also, at the same time, a voice that will no longer call us, but Gianfranco, at least for me, is still alive, because in my thoughts the his name.
How much and what a difference in his behavior from those people who embitter our existence, defining themselves unhappy, afflicted by the taedium vitae, depressed, but who in reality are only out of place, in a world that does not love complaining!
Ultimately, perhaps the spaghetti of Corso Francia was born from an intelligent position towards life, while certain depressions often arise only from stupidity.
I was driving a car and as often happened to me, since I almost always traveled alone, I began to think free-wheeling, without a precise scheme and without any particular thought, catalyzing my cerebral investigation more than the others.
In that whirlwind of thoughts, the Gregorian chant that I loved so much came to mind and how many times I had tried, without ever succeeding, to listen to one live.
Yet, even if I had never done it, I was fascinated, almost enchanted, because I was able to understand its subtle and balanced architecture, I was able to perceive its sacred musicality and intuit its fervor.
In my heart, I felt the precise and vibrant choir, masterfully performed in an old Benedictine cloister, pure, oozing with mystical poetry.
The same pinwheel led me to think of the baby seals, which are massacred and all humanity horrifies, but at the same time, sadly I noticed that no one cares for the myriads of mice that are slaughtered and left to die every day. aching, entangled in some death trap.
As if being sweet and captivating of the first animal and being disgusting and fearful of the second, are conditions chosen by the two animals.
However, the result is always the same.
Mice, like seals, are inexorably exterminated.
The former because they are ugly, the latter because they are beautiful.
Death always creates optimal situations, to win.